Everyone’s favorite mysterious star KIC 8462852, otherwise known as Tabby’s Star, has seen a lot of press in the past year, with its light dimming in an unusual way to the idea of aliens to a Kickstarter being completely funded just to continue studying this unusual star. But now, things have gotten even stranger.
Two researchers, Ben Montet from Caltech and Joshua Simon from the Carnegie Institute found evidence that not only did the star’s light dip every now and again by up to 20 percent, the total stellar flux decreased continuously over all four years that Kepler studied it. The unpublished paper describing the results is available on arXiv.
The team completed a new photometric analysis of Tabby’s Star be examining closely all of the full-frame images taken during Kepler’s mission. The first 1000 days, the star’s luminosity decreased by about 0.34 percent per year. The following 200 days, the flux dropped by 2 percent and then leveled off. Throughout the four years of Kepler’s mission, Tabby’s Star faded by approximately 3 percent. That may not sound like much, but that is an enormous amount in such a small time.
“The part that really surprised me was just how rapid and non-linear it was,” Montet told Gizmodo. “We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn’t real. We just weren’t able to.”
This image shows the photometry of Tabby's Star as measured with Kepler data
Montet & Simon 2016
Now, this isn’t the first time Tabby’s Star has been said to be fading. Bradley Schaefer from Louisiana State University examined old photographic plates that date back to the 19th century earlier this year. Within the past 100 years, Schaefer claimed that Tabby’s Star had faded an exorbitant 19 percen.
Shortly after publishing his findings, other astronomers started to look into his methods and data as they were not convinced. The astronomers were saying that the dimming was the result of flawed data, but Schaefer said otherwise and stood by his work. After this controversy, Montet wanted to find another way to study the star’s long-term trends.
“We realized that in order to settle this, you needed either a long baseline, or high precision data,” says Montet to Gizmodo. “Kepler has the latter.” Montet measured the rate of dimming in the Kepler data to be about twice what Schaefer found, which “is different, but not necessarily inconsistent.”
When the irregular and strange dimming patterns arose through citizen science efforts, an astronomer from Penn State, Jason Wright, suggested that Tabby’s Star could be the construction site of an immense alien megastructure. Wright agreed that the new analysis of Tabby’s Star lends more credibility to Schaefer’s idea of century-long dimming.
The most likely explanations are a swarm of Comets or shattered planet remains that block out the star’s light, or possibly even that of a distorted star. Some of these explanations can uphold the idea of long-term dimming, while others explain the short-term flickering, but as Montet put it, “nothing nicely explains everything.”
The only evident idea is that more data is needed to get a better look at this star, and Tabetha Boyajian, for whom Tabby’s Star is named, is planning on doing just that.
After successfully raising enough funding on her Kickstarter campaign, she has secured observing time with the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network for a full year. Her and her team are hopeful to catch the star in the act of flickering, which will then be alerted to telescopes around the world to have as many eyes as possible on the twitchy star. Only time, and more data, will help astronomers decode the mystery of Tabby’s Star.
By Jordan Rice | Published: Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Rosetta captures comet outburst
"In unprecedented observations made earlier this year, Rosetta unexpectedly captured a dramatic comet outburst that may have been triggered by a landslide.
Nine of Rosetta’s instruments, including its cameras, dust collectors, and gas and plasma analysers, were monitoring the comet from about 35 km in a coordinated planned sequence when the outburst happened on 19 February.
“Over the last year, Rosetta has shown that although activity can be prolonged, when it comes to outbursts, the timing is highly unpredictable, so catching an event like this was pure luck,” says Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist.
“By happy coincidence, we were pointing the majority of instruments at the comet at this time, and having these simultaneous measurements provides us with the most complete set of data on an outburst ever collected.”
The data were sent to Earth only a few days after the outburst, but subsequent analysis has allowed a clear chain of events to be reconstructed, as described in a paper led by Eberhard Grün of the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg, accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
A strong brightening of the comet’s dusty coma was seen by the OSIRIS wide-angle camera at 09:40 GMT, developing in a region of the comet that was initially in shadow.
Over the next two hours, Rosetta recorded outburst signatures that exceeded background levels in some instruments by factors of up to a hundred. For example, between about 10:00–11:00 GMT, ALICE saw the ultraviolet brightness of the sunlight reflected by the nucleus and the emitted dust increase by a factor of six, while ROSINA and RPC detected a significant increase in gas and plasma, respectively, around the spacecraft, by a factor of 1.5–2.5.
In addition, MIRO recorded a 30ºC rise in temperature of the surrounding gas.
Shortly after, Rosetta was blasted by dust: GIADA recorded a maximum hit count at around 11:15 GMT. Almost 200 particles were detected in the following three hours, compared with a typical rate of 3–10 collected on other days in the same month.
At the same time, OSIRIS narrow-angle camera images began registering dust grains emitted during the blast. Between 11:10 GMT and 11:40 GMT, a transition occurred from grains that were distant or slow enough to appear as points in the images, to those either close or fast enough to be captured as trails during the exposures.
In addition, the startrackers, which are used to navigate and help control Rosetta’s attitude, measured an increase in light scattered from dust particles as a result of the outburst.
The startrackers are mounted at 90º to the side of the spacecraft that hosts the majority of science instruments, so they offered a unique insight into the 3D structure and evolution of the outburst.
Astronomers on Earth also noted an increase in coma density in the days after the outburst.
By examining all of the available data, scientists believe they have identified the source of the outburst.
“From Rosetta’s observations, we believe the outburst originated from a steep slope on the comet’s large lobe, in the Atum region,” says Eberhard.
The fact that the outburst started when this area just emerged from shadow suggests that thermal stresses in the surface material may have triggered a landslide that exposed fresh water ice to direct solar illumination. The ice then immediately turned to gas, dragging surrounding dust with it to produce the debris cloud seen by OSIRIS.
“Combining the evidence from the OSIRIS images with the long duration of the GIADA dust impact phase leads us to believe that the dust cone was very broad,” says Eberhard.
“As a result, we think the outburst must have been triggered by a landslide at the surface, rather than a more focused jet bringing fresh material up from within the interior, for example.”
“We’ll continue to analyse the data not only to dig into the details of this particular event, but also to see if it can help us better understand the many other outbursts witnessed over the course of the mission,” adds Matt.
“It’s great to see the instrument teams working together on the important question of how cometary outbursts are triggered.”"
I know there has been tons of debunking of the Klaus Dona stones but why would the same object show up in two such completely different items? One a stone from Equidor and the other a 15th century painting.
A stone found by Klaus Dona in Equidor I believe. Here is his explanation of the stone.
"On this stone you can see an encarving: sitting, a man on a stone holding the pyramid exactly as it was shown on the artifact before. From his eyes are going rays out and on the right side you see two bowed persons. On his head he has something like a small helmet and from this helmet goes up like an antenna to a strange object over him."
Painting by Ghirlandaio, Madonna and St.Giovannino.
A painting that was done in the 15th century by Ghirlandaio shows the Virgin Mary in the foreground. In the background there is a man looking up at a disk. The disk has large sparks coming from it and the man is shielding his eyes from the disk. A dog at the man's side is barking up at the supposed UFO.
The painting is from the Loeser Collection, Palazzo Vecchio, in Florence, Italy.
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